The Library of American Comics- Terry, LOA, & more

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The Library of American Comics- Terry, LOA, & more

Postby emb021 » Thu Apr 19, 2007 12:40 pm

All-

As there is not a separate forum for the "Library of American Comics", I'll start this thread.

I have seen the new Dick Tracy reprint series. I have yet to get any, but plan to.

I have just read the press releases for the new Terry & the Pirates and Little Orphan Annie. Yeah! I was never able to get into the NBM reprints of Terry (no money at the time, only every able to get one of the hardback black and white collections), and KSP's attempted died after only 2 (which I never got). So am really looking forward to this series.

Am also a longtime LOA. Not the movie/play version, but the real Harold Gray comics. But not enough reprints. I have all the Fantagraphics reprints, and was disappointed they didn't continue them. I would really like to read the full stories of Jack Boot (1936), Mr. Am (1937) and Rose Chance/Shanghai Pete (1938). Now I may finally be able to.

What I would like to hear is more about the reprint plans for LOA. At this point I understand they will start with the 1936 strips (skipping over the ones Fantagraphics did), cover about 2 years worth in a book BUT avoid splitting storylines. As the series says its "Complete", are you planning to do what Fantagraphics is doing with Krazy Kat and Eclipse's prior series? ie, start from 1936, go to the end of Gray's stuff, THEN go back to the begining (1924) and reprint back thru to 1935? How often will the books come out?

Also, any plans for slipcases or the like? One reason I've held off on the Dick Tracy books was thinking you might do slipcases like Fantagraphics has done with Peanuts and Dennis the Menace.
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Re: The Library of American Comics- Terry, LOA, & more

Postby Ryall » Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:09 pm

emb021 wrote:All-

As there is not a separate forum for the "Library of American Comics", I'll start this thread.


Also, any plans for slipcases or the like? One reason I've held off on the Dick Tracy books was thinking you might do slipcases like Fantagraphics has done with Peanuts and Dennis the Menace.


First, regarding Annie, we'll talk more about the plans for those volumes as soon as we finalize what we're doing. That one's a bit touchy, since there are two contingents, one who want to see us start from the very beginning, and one who doesn't want to see us redo what Fantagraphics has already done. So we're looking into the best way to make people happy.

Speaking of making people happy, Dean Mullaney, who's designing and compiling the Terry books, sent over the first 20-some pages of Vol. 1, all the bonus material before the strips begin. And it's just stunning stuff. I think that book's going to really blow people away.

We've talked about slipcases but don't have any plans to do them right now.

Incidentally, Dick Tracy Vol. 2 will be in stores on May 16, too.
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Re: The Library of American Comics- Terry, LOA, & more

Postby emb021 » Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:52 pm

Ryall wrote:First, regarding Annie, we'll talk more about the plans for those volumes as soon as we finalize what we're doing. That one's a bit touchy, since there are two contingents, one who want to see us start from the very beginning, and one who doesn't want to see us redo what Fantagraphics has already done. So we're looking into the best way to make people happy.


Interesting. I don't fall in either camp.

First off, Annie started off a different strip then what it developed as over the years. Fantagraphics did the right thing, IMO, of starting off with the 1931 strips rather then the 1924 strips. Now, while I *do* want to see those earlier strips, I don't need to get those now.

Secondly, redoing what Fantagraphics did doesn't bother me too much. What has been frustrating is that some strips have gotten multiple reprints over the years, while other have been more spotty (and there are several that have gotten few or poor reprints that deserve better). Heck, there have been 3 separate efforts to reprint the Alex Raymond Flash Gordon, and I don't have a complete set of any of them! Some people might be upset about you all yet again reprinting Terry & the Pirates, when NBM did 3 different reprint series over the years. I can tell you that of the 3 series they did, I only have one volume, and so will be quite happy to get your new reprint series, and sell off that one volume I have! A different example, I like what Fantagraphics is doing regarding the reprints of Krazy Kat. They started off were Eclipse left off, but have said once they are done, they plan to go back and do those strips as well. That's fine with me, I'd like a SINGLE set of strip reprints. Not a hodge-podge of different collections from different publishers.

Now, what I had heard of your Annie reprint was to start off were Fantagraphics left off (with the 1936 strips). That to me is great, as there are many of the post-1935 storylines I want to see: Jack Boot (1936), Mr Am (1937), Rose Chance/Shanghei Pete (1938) and so on. I wouldn't mind having you go back and include what Fantagraphics did with new volumes. I have all 5 of what they did, and wouldn't mind.

We've talked about slipcases but don't have any plans to do them right now.


Mkay. I ask because once I saw that Fantagraphics was doing that with their Peanuts & Dennis reprints, that I held off to get the slipcases sets from them, rather then the individual volumes. I held off on getting Dick Tracy for fear you'd do the same. So I guess I go get it now.
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Postby Rumble » Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:47 pm

I was going to get The Complete Terry,
though it is $20 more than Complete Chester Gould,and the same amount of pages,
so i'll have to give ti a miss,
though,because tpb cost more here in Oz,

anyways,hope there will be more books in the future,

peace.
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Re: The Library of American Comics- Terry, LOA, & more

Postby WW Doctor » Wed Apr 25, 2007 7:01 am

Ryall wrote:
First, regarding Annie, we'll talk more about the plans for those volumes as soon as we finalize what we're doing. That one's a bit touchy, since there are two contingents, one who want to see us start from the very beginning, and one who doesn't want to see us redo what Fantagraphics has already done. So we're looking into the best way to make people happy.


New to the forum, but I had to add my 2 cents on the Little Orphan Annie debate. I'm very much of the opinion that starting from the beginning the way to go. While some may own the Fantagraphics reprints, some of those are out of print and may be difficult to obtain. It's going to be difficult to explain and attract new readers (which I am sure you want to do) when the first thing you're having to do is explain why you're not starting at the beginning. Besides, starting at the beginning seems to have worked out real well for a certain reprint series starring a round-headed kid and a beagle.

emb021 wrote-
Secondly, redoing what Fantagraphics did doesn't bother me too much. What has been frustrating is that some strips have gotten multiple reprints over the years, while other have been more spotty (and there are several that have gotten few or poor reprints that deserve better). Heck, there have been 3 separate efforts to reprint the Alex Raymond Flash Gordon, and I don't have a complete set of any of them! Some people might be upset about you all yet again reprinting Terry & the Pirates, when NBM did 3 different reprint series over the years. I can tell you that of the 3 series they did, I only have one volume, and so will be quite happy to get your new reprint series, and sell off that one volume I have! A different example, I like what Fantagraphics is doing regarding the reprints of Krazy Kat. They started off were Eclipse left off, but have said once they are done, they plan to go back and do those strips as well. That's fine with me, I'd like a SINGLE set of strip reprints. Not a hodge-podge of different collections from different publishers.


I disagree. I've always wanted to read Krazy Kat, but I would have preferred that Fantagraphics had started at the beginning. Yes, that would have meant reprinting the Eclipse issues. Once again, though, Fantagraphics is stuck having to explain to new readers why they aren't getting to read the early Kat stuff and in some ways are made to feel like second-class citizens because they weren't smart enough to buy the Eclipse reprints back in the day. I might be more forgiving if the Eclipse stuff was more readily available. That's why I'm not as upset about the Terry reprints, as the NBM books are long out-of-print and difficult to obtain and this comes from someone who owns a set of the Terry NBM paperbacks.

Needless to say, I don't envy those who have to make this decision in regards to LOA. But from one who has never had the chance to read LOA (but has wanted to), I think the smartest choice is to follow the lead of other successful reprint series like Peanuts, Dennis the Menace and IDW's own Dick Tracy and start the LOA series at the beginning. In the end, I think it just makes the most sense.
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Re: The Library of American Comics- Terry, LOA, & more

Postby emb021 » Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:56 pm

WW Doctor wrote:
New to the forum, but I had to add my 2 cents on the Little Orphan Annie debate. I'm very much of the opinion that starting from the beginning the way to go. While some may own the Fantagraphics reprints, some of those are out of print and may be difficult to obtain. It's going to be difficult to explain and attract new readers (which I am sure you want to do) when the first thing you're having to do is explain why you're not starting at the beginning. Besides, starting at the beginning seems to have worked out real well for a certain reprint series starring a round-headed kid and a beagle.



While I want to see a complete reprinting of LOA, I disagree because, as I pointed out, the quality of LOA was not consistant. I've seen some of the early strips, and they are a bit different from how LOA developed later. This is why Fantagraphics started their series with the 1931 strips. That's also why the Gasoline Alley reprints being done by Drawn and Quartered don't start with the first strips, but with the 1921 strips and the introduction of Skeezix, because the character and style of the strip changed.

My concern is that many of the LOA fans are probably more familiar with and want to read the later 30s and 40s strips, and started off with the first strips will put people off expected the same quality/style of the later strips. Several other strip reprints didn't get very far for the same reason.

WW Doctor wrote:I disagree. I've always wanted to read Krazy Kat, but I would have preferred that Fantagraphics had started at the beginning. Yes, that would have meant reprinting the Eclipse issues. Once again, though, Fantagraphics is stuck having to explain to new readers why they aren't getting to read the early Kat stuff and in some ways are made to feel like second-class citizens because they weren't smart enough to buy the Eclipse reprints back in the day. I might be more forgiving if the Eclipse stuff was more readily available. That's why I'm not as upset about the Terry reprints, as the NBM books are long out-of-print and difficult to obtain and this comes from someone who owns a set of the Terry NBM paperbacks.


Well, I, too, have wanted to read KK, and wanted a complete series of them. I have all the Eclipse books, and was really annoyed when they ended. I had a tough time getting them all, as I didn't have a lot of money (I also got their incomplete Pogo reprint series, which focused on the pre comic strip comic book stories). As Fantagraphics did state they hope to go back and redo the strips done by Eclipse, I'll let it pass.

Some may also get annoyed with the Popeye and upcoming Pogo reprints from Fantagraphics. I got most of the original Fantagraphics reprint of Popeye, so, what, now I have to replace them? (probably will, as the sundays weren't in color). And what about Pogo. Fantagraphics did try a reprint series that only did 11 booklets. I have about 4-5 of those (and was trying to get the rest). Guess I'll also get rid of them and go for this new series.

WW Doctor wrote:Needless to say, I don't envy those who have to make this decision in regards to LOA. But from one who has never had the chance to read LOA (but has wanted to), I think the smartest choice is to follow the lead of other successful reprint series like Peanuts, Dennis the Menace and IDW's own Dick Tracy and start the LOA series at the beginning. In the end, I think it just makes the most sense.


Understand, but I also dread that we will get another reprint series that won't get finished. There have been many good comic strips that people attempted to reprint that didn't get finished: Li'l Abner, Polly and Her Pals, Red Barry, and on and on.

The Dick Tracy reprints seem to be coming out slower then I expected. Most people are not familiar with the earlier stories, being more familiar with the later stories with the outlandish villians.

I fear the LOA will face the same issues. The early years were more of a 'comedy of errors' style. Later in the 20s you got the more adventure stories, and it wasn't until 1931 that Gray moved it to a more 'adult' strip with a more clear philosophy and message, with Annie more on her own. While I, too, want to read all of the series, its the later 30s and 40s stories I really want to read, and I had to have to wait 5-10 years for the reprints to get to that point.
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Postby WW Doctor » Wed Apr 25, 2007 5:46 pm

While I'm not disagreeing that the 1930s-1940s LOA material may be better. As I noted in my previous post, I've yet to read anything of LOA, so as for what's better, I have no idea.

I guess I just don't see that many new readers (like myself) jumping onboard with 1936 strips, when the strip began in 1924. That's a total of 12 years of strips! It also means attempting to locate earlier reprints, which may prove to be a challenge, one which many new readers won't attempt.

What has especially attracted me to the recent reprint series (like Peanuts and Dick Tracy) is that they have been started with the idea of being complete and chronological. By starting anytime after 1924, you defeat this obvious selling point for new readers and possibly hurt sales of the series.

To me at least, starting in 1936 feels like "cherry-picking", we're going to do the "best" stuff first and the "lesser" stuff later. My thinking is that Peanuts and Dick Tracy (and the Calvin and Hobbes and Far Side collections as well) have shown that those who really are interested in comic strip reprints would rather have it all, and would prefer to have it from the beginning in order.

In the end, I think we shall just have to agree to disagree on this one.
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Postby emb021 » Fri Apr 27, 2007 11:09 am

WW Doctor wrote:While I'm not disagreeing that the 1930s-1940s LOA material may be better. As I noted in my previous post, I've yet to read anything of LOA, so as for what's better, I have no idea.


Understand. I have read some. My first real intro to the 'real' LOA (ie, not the play or movie version) was when I got the 3 reprints by Dover. 2 of them were reprints of the old Cupples & Leon booklets. One reprinted strips from 1925 (when Daddy Warbucks first appeared) and the other part of the "Cosmic City" storyline from 1932. The third was an original collection of edited strips from 1931. Frankly, the 1925 strips were really not that great. What really got me into Annie was reading the 1930s strips. Later, when Fantagraphics did their reprint series, I got them all and was able to see more of the 1930s storylines I had missed. I had some other, edited, reprints, so knew about the other 30s and 40s storylines, and was looking forward to them.

I guess I just don't see that many new readers (like myself) jumping onboard with 1936 strips, when the strip began in 1924. That's a total of 12 years of strips! It also means attempting to locate earlier reprints, which may prove to be a challenge, one which many new readers won't attempt.


Well, what about the Gasoline Alley reprints that ignore the first four years or so? (but they don't bother to call their reprint efforts 'Complete', and if you really want to read those early strips, they are available from other sources, like SPEC.)

For me, I've read edited collections of comic strips (Dick Tracy, Red Barry, LOA, etc), which have focused on specific storylines. The fact that the particular storylines you are reading come from 5, 10, 15, or more years after the strip started really don't affect your enjoyement. Its not like trying to read a novel and having the first 5-6 chapters missing.

What has especially attracted me to the recent reprint series (like Peanuts and Dick Tracy) is that they have been started with the idea of being complete and chronological. By starting anytime after 1924, you defeat this obvious selling point for new readers and possibly hurt sales of the series.


Maybe, maybe not. Keep in mind the Gasoline Alley reprints.

More on what I have to say on this next...

To me at least, starting in 1936 feels like "cherry-picking", we're going to do the "best" stuff first and the "lesser" stuff later. My thinking is that Peanuts and Dick Tracy (and the Calvin and Hobbes and Far Side collections as well) have shown that those who really are interested in comic strip reprints would rather have it all, and would prefer to have it from the beginning in order.


While I can agree with your points, another issue is that not all comic strips started with a level of 'quality' or even tone that it later became. The Dick Tracy you see in the 1931 is not quite the Tracy that many of us are familiar with in reading stories of his more famous 'rogue gallery' of characters (Flattop, Mumbles, Pruneface, et al). Then you have the 'moon era' of the 60s. :).

C&H and Far Side kept up a good quality from day one.

So a legitamate fear with certain strips is that if you do try to do a 'complete collection' from day one, the first year or two (or even more- it took some artists a while to find their 'voice') are fairly 'rough' and not up to the level of the classic years of that strip. You thus run the risk of turning off the more casual buyers, which will cause sales to slip and then the series gets cancelled. (I've lost count of how many reprint series never got completed!)

Dick Tracy was ok when it started, and got better. Same with Peanuts. Having seen the early LOA, I worry that it will turn away the casual buyer who is expecting the stuff that people remember from later years (or worse, what's going on in the current strip).

I think its pointing that they haven't make it clear where they will begin! The publishers know this is a concern. Not everyone will be happy! Maybe they should do a 'staggered' reprint schedule. Do one from the early years, then one from the 30s/40s, and go back and forth.

Whatever they do, I'll buy them. I just don't want to have to wait even longer to read the better stuff from the 30s/40s that I haven't.
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Postby WW Doctor » Sat Apr 28, 2007 3:39 am

emb021 wrote:Well, what about the Gasoline Alley reprints that ignore the first four years or so? (but they don't bother to call their reprint efforts 'Complete', and if you really want to read those early strips, they are available from other sources, like SPEC.)

For me, I've read edited collections of comic strips (Dick Tracy, Red Barry, LOA, etc), which have focused on specific storylines. The fact that the particular storylines you are reading come from 5, 10, 15, or more years after the strip started really don't affect your enjoyement. Its not like trying to read a novel and having the first 5-6 chapters missing.


I guess I'm just a completest at heart. I've read many edited collections, particularly of Dick Tracy, Peanuts, Buck Rogers, etc. and while I enjoyed what I had read, I wanted more.

The Gasoline Alley reprints I don't really have a problem. I look at it like I do the the Popeye reprints, it's the complete Popeye not the complete Thimble Theatre. I'd love to read the early pre-Popeye Thimble Theatres, but I suspect there just isn't that much of a market for them. But thanks for the tip on Spec, I think I'll be picking up some of their material (the Gasoline Alley reprints for sure!)

I think its pointing that they haven't make it clear where they will begin! The publishers know this is a concern. Not everyone will be happy! Maybe they should do a 'staggered' reprint schedule. Do one from the early years, then one from the 30s/40s, and go back and forth.

Whatever they do, I'll buy them. I just don't want to have to wait even longer to read the better stuff from the 30s/40s that I haven't.


Indeed, because I do think that IDW has a job on their hands just re-introducing LOA to modern day audience and convincing them to pick up the reprint series.
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Postby WW Doctor » Wed May 09, 2007 6:37 pm

Just picked up Volume Two of Dick Tracy today, looking forward to some good reading! Best news, it came a bit early as it was supposed to show up on May 16th! I'll take a bit early anytime!
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Postby redfusion » Fri Jun 08, 2007 10:35 am

Hopefully the Terry and the Pirates book doesn't print any pages upside down like my Volume 2 of Dick Tracy.
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Annie reprints

Postby einnor » Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:00 pm

I'm going to (eventually) put in my two cents worth on where to start the Annie reprints...

Fantagraphics volume 4, reprinting 1934, ended with the December 30th strip. Volume 5 started with the first 1935 strip. The 12-31-34 strip was never reprinted!

And then, volume 5's entire contents are not chronological! (I'm kind of surprised that no one has mentioned that yet, those that have read it.) All of the 1935 strips are in "Tue thru Sat, Mon, Sun" order! A real pain to read thru (having to flip back and forth all the time).

Also, the Fantagraphics Sunday strips were not in color. These three points support the idea that the Fantagraphics volumes need to be redone, especially volume 5.

Personally, if I could pick, I'd like to see them start at the beginning, and just go right thru the Fantagraphics volumes, based on the reasons above. But, I guess I don't REALLY care when they start, as long as they end up publishing all the Harold Gray strips (1924-1968). And don't forget the LOA spinoff strip, also by Gray, "Maw Green."

If they are not going to start at the beginning, I hope they start with the final strip of 1934 (which was never reprinted), and then re-do the botched 1935 volume. If they really are "picking up where readers left off," that would make the most sense to me.

Or maybe they should try to do both concurrently (if they can afford it), targeting the first seven years toward the kids, and 1931 on, toward the adults. If the first early volume (1924-1926?) doesn't sell, then stop, and concentrate on the later strips. In the meantime, gather enough pre-orders for the early volumes (from the current buyers of the older strips, hopefully picking up many casual readers along the way), making any more early years reprinting financially viable.

As someone who has read at least some of Annie from the 1920's thru the 1940's (in reprint editions! I'm not THAT old!), the strips from about mid-1931 on, are WAY better than the 1920's strips, so I can see their concern with starting from the beginning. Maybe pre-orders is the way to go, with those early strips.

Either way, I can't wait!!

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Postby emb021 » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:33 am

As the series is supposed to be the 'complete LOA', I fully expect them to published ALL the Harold Gray LOA, including the stuff done by Fantagraphics.

Already having the 5 Fantagraphics, I would prefer they start off with the 1936 strips (similiar to what Fantagraphics is doing with Krazy Kat vis the prior Eclipe books).

I also suggested the idea of concurrent reprints series of the first strips and the post 1935 strips as well.

Over on The Comics Journal forums, there is a thread about LOA. Apparently, Fantagraphics was planning to resume their reprint series (starting back up with 1936) just prior to the IDW announcement. There was some discussion there about 'where to start' the IDW series. There were some saying that since Comics Review had started their reprinting of LOA strips in that magazine with 1936, and got into (I think) the late 30s or early 40s, that the IDW series should INSTEAD start there.

Like you, my reading of LOA has been thru reprint editions. The 1920 strips are just not as good. Yes, I want to read them, but would fear by starting with those weaker strips that it might put the series in jeapordy.

It would just be nice if those involved with the project would contribute to the discussion. I think Dean Mullaney was involved with the thread on TCJ Forum.
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Postby WW Doctor » Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:06 pm

redfusion wrote:Hopefully the Terry and the Pirates book doesn't print any pages upside down like my Volume 2 of Dick Tracy.


My copy of Dick Tracy Volume 2 had some pages upside down as well. At least it was only the Gould interview pages, and I can turn the book upside down to read them! :wink:

Regarding Little Orphan Annie, it looks like it has been decided to start with the early strips (1924-27) for the first volume. Over at Newsarama, there's a mock-up of the first volume's cover along with a press release in the News section. No doubt that will be showing up here at the IDW site as well (if it hasn't already).

Can hardly wait for February, though I suppose that Terry Volume 1 and the next Dick Tracy volume will tide me over (along with several other comic strip collections from other publishers as well!)
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Postby emb021 » Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:40 pm

here's the link to the article: http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=118241

Volume 1, Will Tomorrow Ever Come?, with strips from August 24 to April 27.

That's almost 3 years. At this rate, they won't get into the 1930s until volume 3 or so.
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